Over the past few years, North Carolina-based Sarah Shook and The Disarmers have built a steady and loyal following with their brilliant modern take on country music. Nowhere is this more evident than on night owlreleased earlier this year.
But Shook’s last effort cruel liars, presented under the moniker Mightmare, is unlike anything the artist has released before. Although there are still country elements throughout the eight tracks that make up cruel liarsand Shook’s distinctly captivating vocal woods are still present, this collection also mixes electronic elements and indie pop.
Newly sober and grounded due to Covid shutdowns, Shook attempted to make a completely individual record from start to finish, composing, arranging and producing the entire album. “I created my solo project Mightmare and obsessively leaned into it during the first year of the pandemic and out of this manic fixation came cruel liarssaid Shook. “I put every cell and strand of my being into this album, I’m proud of it for its brightest moments and glaring imperfections, for its darkness and its quiet hand guiding me to the zeniths of personal truths.”
There are deeply personal moments here dealing with relationships throughout cruel liars, like on the moody “Enemy” about animosity around breakups, or the self-explanatory title track. “Make It Work” finds the singer exasperated and close to giving up on a partnership where they seem to be the only ones trying.
But there are also lighter moments here, like on the catchy, airy “Easy,” about being so comfortable with someone you don’t have to say a word; or the closer album, “Sure Thing,” a much less sunny subject about the end of a chapter and moving on, but an equally satisfying song, thanks to the hypnotic music that carries Shook’s vocals. cruel liars manages to be an impressive step outside of music. Shook has already built a solid career, certain to attract new audiences while keeping longtime fans happy as well.